McCullum, Hodge runs give Kolkata rare victory

CENTURION: Australasians Brendon McCullum and Brad Hodge were the heroes as Kolkata Knight Riders shocked Chennai Super Kings Monday in an Indian Premier League thriller.

Skipper McCullum from New Zealand struck 81 runs and Australian Hodge an undefeated 71 as Kolkata scored a single off the last ball at Centurion Park and triumphed by seven wickets.

It was only the second win in 13 outings for the bottom team in the Twenty20 extravaganza while a Chennai side lacking injured star batsman Matthew Hayden suffered their fifth loss of the group phase which finishes Thursday.

Suresh Raina top scored for Chennai with 52 as they made 188-3 in 20 overs on a cold, late autumn evening at the Test venue halfway between Johannesburg and Pretoria.

McCullum was quickly into his stride as Kolkata chased a daunting total, reaching a half century during the sixth over before being bowled by Shadab Jakati with his side on 124-2 after 13 overs.

But Hodge carried the fight to Chennai and after going into the final over needing six runs to win, it came down the final ball which wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha scrambled for a single to avoid a super-over climax.

"Winning was far more important than my contribution," said modest man of the match Hodge. "We have tried so hard in the IPL only to finish on the wrong side of results."

McCullum added: "I would not wish the last four weeks on my worst enemy, but the boys kept lifting themselves off the floor and tonight we got over the line. Now we must enjoy ourselves."

Chennai skipper MS Dhoni said: "We got a lot of runs only for our opponents to bat brilliantly. Now we face the same situation as last year of needing a win from our final match to clinch a semi-finals place."

Kolkata face defending champions Rajasthan Royals and Chennai meet Kings XI Punjab Wednesday in a Durban double-header.